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Traveling full time means you never know who you’ll be spending your birthday with next year, and odds are very good it won’t be the same people from year to year. Last year for my birthday we were in Bali, and enjoyed a birthday dinner out with our friends on S/V Slow Flight. Imagine my surprise to find myself a year later, celebrating again with Slow Flight at Sakatia Lodge, near Nosy Be, Madagascar.
Sakatia (Sa-KAH-tia) is just a few miles away from Nosy Be in northwestern Madagascar. Before we arrived, I started following Sakatia Lodge on Facebook, and was stunned by their amazing underwater photos (sea horses and flouro dives!). When David asked what I wanted to do for my birthday, I said “Go diving!” Kimi and Trevor were onboard with this plan.
We loaded up our dive gear and reported to the shop at the lodge. We weren’t going to do anything fancy, just two regular dive sites. It was the four of us and another American (there aren’t many around here!) Who had just spent months in Seychelles diving with a research program.
As with any dive for me, what really makes it is the usual things I’ve either never seen, or don’t see often. Both dives were very calm, with no current and good visibility. The second dive was on a plateau a few miles south, and the main attraction was schooling barracuda.
Our dive leader, Emma from the UK, was fantastic and fun.
Sakatia is a nesting location for green turtles. Emma told us that at high tide, it’s almost a guarantee to see the huge green turtles swimming on the south side of the island, feeding in seagrass. Sakatia Lodge has put out some markers and mooring balls to make it a no motoring zone and no anchoring zone. This will prevent injuries to the sea turtles and their seagrass.
We returned to Sakatia a few weeks later to swim with these turtles after our whale shark swim. The turtles ARE huge and are used to tourists swimming around them.
Back to my birthday: the four of us recovered from our dive and then came to the lodge for drinks and dinner. I had a really great pina colada made with fresh fruit instead of canned.
Dinner was a set menu with local fare; zucchini soup, pan-fried kingfish, and caramelized bananas with crepes. Our meal was topped off with house-infused rum!
It’s always a joy to spend my birthday doing something I love with amazing friends!
Sakatia Lodge is really gorgeous. We enjoyed the beach, plus the food and the service were all excellent. Especially for divers, I would highly recommend staying at the lodge.